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MMD > Archives > October 2001 > 2001.10.29 > 07Prev  Next

New Rolls for Player Pianos
By Mike Walter

Dear friends,  As a variation on a theme -- It would be wonderful
to be able to listen to new music for the reproducing piano.  I am
not especially talking about music from any one period.  There are
six decades worth of great popular tunes that have never been near
a reproducing piano drawer.

With the advent of Midi files and computer programming, the coding
of new reproducing roll should not be too difficult a process.
Complex?  Probably.  Possible?  Yes.  Rewarding?  Certainly!

Rob DeLand did a fantastic service for the Ampico owner when he released
John Arpin's version of St. Louis Blues.  Are there any more unissued
rolls of John's in hiding?

When you buy a collection of old piano rolls and play them, do you say
to yourself, "Boy, those are _all_ wonderful rolls!"  If you do, you're
probably lying to yourself or else you're 85 to 90 years old.  There
are a _lot_ of rolls which at one time were very popular and were
played very often but now are not popular.

How many copies of "Drowsy Waters" or "The Rosary" have you seen in
your lifetime? These rolls were once extremely popular, and now they
are relegated to the attic or basement storage.

To keep the interest in reproducing pianos alive for the next
generation we have to have on hand some type of music to which they
can relate.  I know that some contemporary music such as rap and heavy
metal, does not lend itself well to the piano roll format at all, but
there are other genres, such as Broadway musicals and some modern easy
listening songs would lend themselves well to the reproducing piano.
(Personally, I would love to hear an Ampico version of the main theme
from "Phantom of the Opera", even if it's 10 years behind the times.)

"Out There" are people with the talent and the "Know How" to make a
project such as this feasible and profitable.  We need to hire,
inspire, coax, coerce, blackmail(only kidding):) these people into
producing reproducing rolls which can show off the capabilities of our
wonderful pianos to the next generation.  Otherwise these pianos, will
be left behind, just like the "Drowsy Waters", which our grandparents
loved, are left behind today.

Now I'll get off my soap box!

Thanks very much.

Mike Walter

 [ Bob Taylor hand-coded one hour of classical music for Ampico.
 [ Perhaps he can tell us about the work and the rewards!  ;-)
 [ -- Robbie

(Message sent Tue 30 Oct 2001, 04:48:03 GMT, from time zone GMT-0800.)

Key Words in Subject:  New, Pianos, Player, Rolls

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